Department of Interior Lab Prepares for P25 ISSI/CSSI Testing Next Year
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 | Comments

The Department of Interior (DOI) laboratory in Denver, which is on track to conduct Project 25 (P25) Inter RF Subsystem (ISSI) and Console Subsystem Interface (CSSI) conformance testing, should be accredited by the first quarter of 2020. The lab partnered with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) and will use the Valid8 test tool to verify conformance for CSSI/ISSI users.

P25 vendors Harris, JVCKENWOOD — EF Johnson divison, Etherstack, Zetron and Avtec agreed to work with Valid8. Several demonstrations of the test tool were conducted at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International conference in Baltimore last month.

DHS published the P25 Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) conformance tests for ISSI/CSSI, and they are available upon request. DHS will publish the ISSI/CSSI interoperability compliance assessment bulletins (CABs) by the end of the month.

Russ Sveda, center manager of the DOI radio technical service center, said the Denver P25 lab will receive single-scope accreditation for ISSI/CSSI, repeater conformance testing accreditation, with assistance from the Department of Commerce Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) and the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP). The DOI staff have done training to become International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certified.

Sveda and his team will establish a repeatable test tool evaluation method, assess the actual tool and provide a report/recommendation to the CAP oversight task force by the end of the year. Final ISO 17025 lab accreditation is expected by February or March 2020, along with the automated ISSI/CSSI test tool as part of the capability.

Initial testing will provide feedback into the standards, test cases and test tools. Once the lab is established for the ISSI/CSSI testing, DOI will encourage industry testing within the lab as well, Sveda said.

The Valid8 test tool will test three conformance testing methods — mobile subscriber unit (SU) initiated, received by test tool, and test tool initiated and received by mobile SU.

Harris County, Texas, has 22 system partners across 34 counties in its P25 system of systems with about 105,000 subscribers and uses ISSI technology to connect Harris and Motorola solutions equipment. The county recently completed a request for proposals (RFP) for consoles.

Montgomery County Hospital District, Harris County’s ISSI partner, and Harris County have been providing input for needed tests and possible user interfaces. Harris County has run the Valid8 ISSI test tool remotely, and a county official said it looks promising.

“The tool is able to do any test case we want to do from the compliance assessment bulletins (CABs),” said Greg Jurrens, senior manager – radio services with Harris County.

Jurrens said the county’s ISSI challenges revolve around the procurement process and knowing what to specify in terms of features, functions and bandwidth requirements. Harris County needs simple tools to get agency partners to startup, and a common test suite or platform to verify the installation.

“We are looking forward to the DOI lab project to jump-start the independent certification testing of ISSI/CSSI interfaces and projects,” Jurrens said.

If DHS finds ISSI/CSSI conformance problems, officials will communicate the issues to the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) P25 standards group to address any P25 standards issues.

Both ISSI/CSSI interoperability and conformance testing will be part of the CAP program. Laboratories can begin certification for interoperability and conformance testing as soon as the interoperability CABs are published, expected by the end of September. Conformance testing can begin as soon as the DOI laboratory is certified. DHS will share the conformance testing approach so that commercial laboratories can also become certified for conformance testing of ISSI/CSSI. As laboratories become certified, they can begin testing and reporting results independently to DHS. DHS will review, approve and publish the results on the P25 CAP website, however, both types of testing will be required for interoperability.

Sridhar Kowdley, program manager of the P25 CAP for DHS S&T, said interoperability can be best tested in the field by certified laboratories that can take their certification with them.

“We’re moving so aggressively to address a critical need by users,” he said. “If you’ve done interoperability testing, I want to put it on the website. We want both interoperability and conformance testing, but we are OK with publishing one before the other. We think industry will start interoperability in the near term.”

The DHS P25 CAP advisory panel (AP) has transitioned from an S&T advisory panel to a task force under SAFECOM, a stable organization with a wider reach, Sridhar said. The members and leadership remain the same.

Gerald Reardon, P25 CAP task force chair, said the priorities for upcoming work include the interworking function for LMR and mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT), putting GPS data into a format that allows it to be used in functions such as CAD, mobile data terminals and other devices and programs; and standards for Phase 2 conventional TDMA to give users more flexibility.

In a recent survey of P25 users, with 76 respondents being state and local users, about 43% of respondents have an operational ISSI, 18% have an operational CSSI, and 53% have neither. For those users without an ISSI, about 24% of respondents plan to implement one, while about 17% plans to deploy a CSSI.

A follow-up P25 ISSI/CSSI survey will ask more detailed demographic and technical questions.

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